Patti Abbott, mystery writer extraordinaire, has been a friend of the Women of Mystery for the near decade since we started this blog. Long acclaimed for her beautifully written short mystery fiction, Patti, writing as Patricia Abbott, has just released her first novel Concrete Angel.
Since everyone knows I am all about the setting of a story, I am delighted that Patti agreed to tell us her thoughts about the setting of Concrete Angel.
In some books a sense of place can dominate a story. And some writers are very talented at evoking place. It’s hard though to balance what can be an important element with other essentials like: plot, tone, character. When you are using details of your own childhood in a place you no longer live, it can become overwhelming.
I grew up in Philadelphia in the fifties and sixties so when I began to think about writing a novel, it seemed right to set it there and then. It’s a place my mind still travels to often. I think you have an almost sensate relationship with the time and place you grew up in that you never quite experience again. I know I could walk into my childhood home blindfolded and identify it by the smell alone.
My novel centers on two characters: Eve and Christine Moran, a mother and daughter. Eve is half a generation older than me and Christine more than half a generation younger. I wanted to look at Christine’s childhood through my adult eyes rather than fall too much into reliving the years of my own youth.
My favorite parts of the book are the ones that lean heavily on the Philadelphia of the sixties and early seventies though: what is was like to live in a 750 square foot row house, what is was like to go downtown to shop dressed in white gloves and high heels, how it felt taking a trolley car when they still existed, what working in a glamorous store was like, how closely you were observed in neighborhoods then.
I hope I have done the southeastern Pennsylvania of my childhood justice. I still travel those streets in my heart.
Hi, it’s Terrie again. I finished reading Concrete Angel last night and I have to tell you that the suspense is riveting and the characters are unforgettable. Take a look at Patti’s biography since I am sure you want to know more about her.
Patricia Abbott is the Derringer Award winning author of more than 135 short stories.. She has also published two ebooks with Snubnose Press, MONKEY JUSTICE and HOME INVASION. You can find her blogging at pattinase and you can read her movie reviews at CRIMESPREE MAGAZINE. Her next book, SHOT IN DETROIT, is due to appear in Summer, 2016.